Deadly confrontation of morality and power | Deutschlandfunk

REVIEW.

Jörg Plath: Deadly confrontation of morality and power. Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 29. 1. 2022.

With her novel “Hours of Lead”, Radka Denemarková delivers a furious indictment of the Chinese dictatorship: in it, a Czech author meets a woman who, influenced by her, rebels against the regime and is cruelly punished.

China has banned Czech writer Radka Denemarková from entering the country for life. Her political novel Hours of Lead is unlikely to change this. Denemarková accuses the People’s Republic of ruthless enrichment and serious human rights violations. Her main character, the Czech writer Birgit Stadtherrová, meets Chinese dissidents in Beijing, “uneducable people” who are monitored, isolated and deported.

Outraged, Stadtherrová demands freedom, democracy and self-determination. A young Chinese woman in charge of her surveillance confronts her with quotes from Václav Havel. The woman defends herself with Confucius, then becomes thoughtful, rebels, is arrested, tortured, robbed of her kidneys alive and executed. Stadtherrová experiences leaden hours of guilt.

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Radka Denemarková: Stunden aus Blei. Novel. Translated from Czech by Eva Profousová. 880 pp., hardcover, EUR 32,90 (Verlag Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg)

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